Listen to Mark Forsyth discuss what makes a political sound bite:
In December 2011, there was a major reversal of American policy and ideology. Barack Obama told a crowd of veterans: ‘You stood up for America. Now America must stand up for you.’ A U-turn! A flop-flip! Because, if you think about it, Obama was saying the exact opposite of JFK: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.
Listen to Melanie Phillips and Jesse Norman discuss Paul Flowers:
Yet again, one particular question has formed on lips up and down the land. How in heaven’s name could so many people have failed to spot such a spectacular abuse of a public position?
We heard it first in the Jimmy Savile scandal, when the posthumous discovery of half a century of predation left people incredulous that so many had known about but done nothing to stop his serial depravities.
Nine cartoonists are shortlisted for the first ever Michael Heath Award for cartooning. The theme of the contest, sponsored by John Lobb, is ‘Man in Motion’. Work by four of the shortlisted artists is below. We’ll print four more next week, and the winner on 7 December. Thanks to all who entered — and congratulations to those on the shortlist.
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Everybody knows that the London art scene is thriving, and so of course the big international commercial galleries have set up here: Gagosian, David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth and Pace. This global razzmatazz puts pressure on the city’s home-grown independent galleries — especially those in Cork Street in Mayfair. Cork Street has been at the heart of London’s art scene for more than 90 years, and helped launch some of the most famous artists of modern times.
Barely a week goes by when a female Lib Dem minister doesn’t pledge some new coalition initiative on ‘female body confidence’. The junior equalities minister Jo Swinson was at it again when she congratulated Debenhams for becoming the first high-street retailer to introduce size 16 mannequins. Ms Swinson said: ‘The images we see in the world of fashion are all pretty much the same. It’s as if there’s only one way of being beautiful.
Shortly before his death, David Frost rang to ask me to take part in a radio series he was making to mark the 50th anniversary of ‘the year, Chris, that I know is closest to your heart, 1963’. This was not because 1963 was the year when he and I worked together on the BBC satire show That Was The Week That Was (TW3), which overnight made Frost a television superstar. It was because he remembered the importance I had given to the events of that year in The Neophiliacs, a book I wrote long ago analysing the tidal wave of change which swept through British life in the 1950s and 1960s.
The single most common reaction I get from Americans when they learn that we’re placing our newspapers under our politicians is: ‘Y’all need a Bill of Rights’. You can see their point. Absolute freedom of expression used to distinguish the English-speaking peoples from the run of nations. The restrictions which even other western democracies applied — prohibitions on Nazi symbols, for example — were inconceivable in the Anglosphere.
This week the General Synod edged one step closer towards permitting the ordination of female bishops. The final outcome is likely to be some kind of compromise to appease traditionalists similar to that in 1992 when the ordination of female priests was passed. But unlike that occasion, one crucial voice will not be heard nor probably venture an opinion — the Conservative party, which has distanced itself from ecclesiastical affairs over the past 20 years.